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Camping Sites in California for a Family With Kids

by Heather Frances, studioD

California’s climate ranges from areas with hot summers and rainy winters to sub-arctic temperatures, so year-round camping options are available across the state. California offers a variety of environments -- from beaches to deserts—for your family to enjoy on your next camping vacation.


Beaches along California’s coastline offer conveniently located campgrounds for families to enjoy. Families can swim, surf and picnic at San Elijo State Beach, located along the San Diego Coast, and this beach has a nearby reef that snorkelers and divers might enjoy. The campground has a store with boogie boards, firewood, snack bar and other supplies. Leo Carillo State Park, near Santa Monica, has 1 1/2 miles of beaches available for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing, beachcombing and other family activities. The park features backcountry hiking and nature walks, and children’s programs are available during the summer.


Southern California’s deserts have many family camping sites that are popular in colder months when the weather makes northern sites less desirable. Desert camping areas give families the opportunity to enjoy the desert environment together. For example, Oasis Palms RV Park has hiking, biking, boating, golfing, bird watching and stargazing. Campers can take a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park to see desert flowers, cacti and animals. Campgrounds near the Salton Sea, also known as California’s Dead Sea, offer families activities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, bird watching, boating and off-roading.


California’s mountains have tent and RV camping opportunities, and cabin rentals. Mountain Lakes campground in Lytle Creek has tents, RVs and cabins that sleep six people and come equipped with full kitchens. Some cabins have television connections, separated bedrooms and bunk beds to make families more comfortable while they enjoy California’s mountains. Yosemite Pines, near Yosemite National Park, allows up to six campers per site, offering both campsites and cabins. This campground includes bathroom and shower facilities, picnic tables, fire rings, swimming pool and children’s playground.

Campgrounds With Amenities

Family campgrounds are available throughout California, and many offer amenities in the campground itself that can make your vacation enjoyable no matter where the campground is located. Campland on the Bay, in San Diego, is close to beaches and Sea World, but also has an environment that feels safe for children, offering volleyball, scavenger hunts, sand castle contests, pingpong, arts and crafts, skateboarding park and a basketball court. Yosemite Pines has a petting zoo, gold-panning, a self-guided gold mine tour, storytelling around the campfire, hayrides and ice cream socials.

About the Author

Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images